I don’t even know how this picture book ended up on our bookshelf, but I read it out loud to the kids the other day and laughed so hard I could barely get the words out. As you can probably guess, it’s the story of Goldilocks trespassing in the home of three dinosaurs, with near-disastrous results.
(This is not a spoiler.) The last page concludes the tale this way:
My first impression was: “THIS IS THE MOST PROFOUND THING I’VE EVER READ.” But then I checked myself: “Is this actually true?”
Perhaps you’ll say I’m overthinking things. But I mulled this over for a couple of days.
We all have moments where we look at our life and think, “This is not the story I imagined for myself.” And most of the time, we can’t (and shouldn’t) follow the example of Goldilocks and literally run out the nearest door without a backwards look.
But we all have more power over our stories than we give ourselves credit for. In the immortal words of Sister Hazel, “If you want to be somebody else, change your mind.”
There are too many days when I’m living the story of “I am Yelling Mom and Grumpy Housewife,” “Everyone Else’s Grass Is Greener,” or “I am the Poor Baby Victim of Everyone Else’s Annoying Issues.”
That is not the story I want to live. And it’s completely in my power to leave those narratives behind and assert control over my mind and heart. This season has its challenges (what season doesn’t?), but I don’t want to waste it by living in the wrong story.
I wrote at Windows and Mirrors about how I’ve been inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s writings lately; her main theme is simple but profound: happiness is the result of purposeful habits. For most of us, contentment is less about the particulars of our circumstances and more about our response to them; adopting a more grateful, thoughtful, purposeful mindset can help us to appreciate the goodness that is already present in our lives.
For me, living the right story means knowing when to strive and when to rest; when to fight back and when to concede; when to move and when to wait.
The result? More good-story days. Days that are not too easy, not too hard, but just right.